Ste. Anne Mayor Bill Tierney (left) and Jacques Cartier MNA Geoff Kelley feed some otters at the Ecomuseum yesterday morning. Chronicle, Jacques Pharand
The provincial government, the city of Ste. Anne de Bellevue and the Ecomuseum are teaming up to help the zoological park connect to Ste. Anne's water supply and wastewater systems, with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Regions footing most of the $193, 000 bill, the three entities announced at a joint press conference yesterday morning.
"I'm happy as an otter today," announced Jacques Cartier MNA Geoff Kelley as he made the announcement outside in the Ecomuseum's woods, in front of a water tank housing some of the mammals in question.
Thanks to Quebec's provincial-municipal infrastructures budget, Kelley said, the province would be able to pay for $96, 600 of the total cost. He called the Ecomuseum a "victim of its own success," citing how over 90,000 visitors came by over the last year or so. It was quickly becoming important to replace the area's sceptic tanks with a proper sewage system, he said.
In the emotional speech that followed, Ste. Anne mayor Bill Tierney recalled being on council in the 80s when it was first approached by Roger Bider, a professor, with the idea of selling some territory to build the Ecomuseum. "I thought this guy was crazy," Tierney said with a laugh. However, he then realized Bider was "part of a group of visionaries from Ste. Anne de Bellevue," adding the Ecomuseum's current director, David Rodrigue, is a part of that tradition as well.
Ste. Anne is donating $50,000 for the construction of the project, Tierney said.
Rodrigue explained the Ecomuseum's traffic has expanded greatly in the last year and the zoological park is hoping to reach annually 200,000 visitors soon. "When we speak of water and containment systems, they're not necessarily the projects with the highest profile," he said, but they are just as important to allow the Ecomuseum to carry on its educational mission. "You're actually making a contribution to education," he told Kelley and Tierney, since without the necessary infrastructure, it would be difficult to attract more people to the site.
The remainder of the cost will be paid by the Ecomuseum.
The Ecomuseum is a educational wildlife park located in Ste. Anne de Bellevue and run by a private, non-profit organization. Call (514) 457-9449 for more information.